I wanted to be a vegetarian when I was six and first found out where meat came from, but it seemed that there was no such thing as vegetarianism in my family. I read a teen magazine at the age of twelve that indicated that there was such a thing as vegetarianism. I was so excited. I ran up and told my mother! She wasn’t thrilled and I think she thought it was a phase. That was twenty-seven years ago. It’s not that I think it is evil (though I think factory farms are), I just can’t eat meat. The consistency and smell and origin holds no appeal to me. Doug went vegetarian about eight years ago for health reasons and then for compassion reasons. We started reading books. We became Raw Foodies for a very tumultuous year (cold food 24 hours a day anyone?). We watched Food Inc. We instantly became vegans. Doug lost much needed weight and we were full of energy. We were vegan for three years until recently when we gleefully fell off the wagon and into baked brie.
The way we are eating now feels right but we need more vegetables (come on summer!). We likely eat too much fish and our mercury levels are probably causing us to glow. Our cholesterol may not be so hot either. Plants bring down cholesterol. We are comfortably pescetarian. We just don’t have any desire to eat our chickens. Though if people are going to eat meat, doesn’t it make sense to snub factory farms and their cruelty and unhealthy meat? A chicken with his head cut off in two seconds flat and supports a local farmer makes a whole lot more sense to me than the stash of unknown meat from the grocery store. A cow roaming happily about a pasture of green grass and doesn’t know what hit him when he becomes a side of beef is a lot nicer than the feed lots of horror.
There are so many factors for people to decide from each day. Is a pesticide filled salad better than a factory farmed McDonald’s hamburger? Probably. Is an organic salad better than a pesticide filled one? Absolutely. Is whole grain bread better than white? Yes. Are organic whole grains better than non-organic, possibly genetically modified wheat? Sure thing. Would my cousin argue that grains are toxic and meat and vegetables are the only way to go? Yes.
Wouldn’t our farming forefathers give us a look of absolute pity and awe at our wild confusion?
Eat from a farm. One that doesn’t grow GMO’s. Where the ground was fed with manure and scraps from the farm (a full circle). Where the animals eat grass and the chickens eat grasshoppers, where the seeds are watered and grow up to be nutritious vegetables. Where fruit is luscious and sweet, and not trucked from Peru. Where eggs are warm from the coop and the milk is rich and sweet and raw from the goat or cow. Where one can recognize each and every ingredient. Corn. Butter. Eggs. Cheese. Lettuce. Buckwheat. Tomato. Basil.
Part of the reason we started using Nancy’s goat’s milk and cheese was because I started reading ingredients. What the heck are natural flavors? From what? Worms? Bark? Rum? How do you make soy lecithin? I haven’t seen a recipe for this. I don’t want any more lab created ingredients. No more boxes in my house.
Organic if possible. Tons of vegetables and fruits, preferably from my garden, or my friend’s, the farmer’s market, or if all else fails, the health food store. Eggs from my coop. Milk from the goats down the street. Cheese and butter made by me. Bread made from grains that I ground, preferably grown locally, and baked into four ingredient loaves of steaming hot goodness. Corn that is actually corn. The kind great-great grandma used to eat.
This is a “diet” I can stand behind. Real food all the time! Food that nourishes us. Food that supports the community.
This year Nancy and I start out on a new venture. Growing for market. I hope you will support your farmers this year. Support those that don’t use pesticides and that have dirt on their hands. Support the right to eat real food. The government will be happy to subsidize fake food for you but if we will open our eyes and see the environmental and physical damage we are causing and start eating real food from the ground, from a farm, from our neighbor imagine the difference that would make.
(All artwork is from Victory Garden of Tomorrow by Joe Wirthheim. http://victorygardenoftomorrow.com/growfood2.html I have his posters hanging in my dining room as a visual inspiration. I love them!)